Whisky Tasting – Japanese Malts

April 21st marked the third Thursday of the month and that meant it was whisky tasting time again! In March we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with some Irish malts. In April we decided to go in another direction with some Japanese malts. There wasn’t any particular reason for why we went with Japanese whiskies other than we didn’t have the self-control to leave these whiskies’ flavors a mystery to us. The whiskies we decided to pour were available here in the US only via check in baggage. Nate brought these bottles back in February and we couldn’t wait any longer to open them.

We were lucky to have a good turn out of enthusiastic whisky folks to enjoy the whisky with. We decided to start off the evening by doing a quick comparison between Japanese whisky and Scotch whisky: a Singleton of Glendullan 12 and Yamazaki 12.  It wasn’t the most scientific and there were probably better whiskies to use to compare, but hell it was what we had available to us.

After that we moved into the more serious whisky.  We started with the Suntory Hibiki 50.5.  Hibiki is a blended whisky – a mix of malt and grain – and as the name indicates it is bottled at 50.5% ABV.  The Hibiki 12 is probably familiar to those in the US but this particular Hibiki was aged for 17 years.  After the Hibiki we dove into the first single malt of the evening, a single cask Hakushu, distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2008 at 62%ABV.  Hakushu is Suntory’s other distillery located in Yamanashi Prefecture.  The last expression of the evening was one of Ichiro Akuto’s Card Series:  3 of Hearts.  The Card Series bottlings are whiskies that were originally distilled in the now closed Hanyu distillery.  This particular expression was first aged in a Hogshead and finished in a port pipe and ultimately bottled at 61.2%ABV.  It was a great whisky to finish on!

…or at least we thought.  For those that stuck around and got really comfortable in their seats, an additional two Japanese whiskies made their appearances.  White Oak/Eigashima is one of Japan’s lesser known distilleries.  The majority of their distilling efforts are spent on shochu and sake, but they do release a couple of expressions.  We decided to try their Akashi 5 and 12 year old whiskies.  Definitely different, bordering on funky was my impressions.  Of course this was after a couple of hours on sipping on the three previously mentioned whiskies.

Overall it appeared that everyone had a good time (which is the most important thing) and enjoyed some different whiskies.  We will post up more detailed tasting impressions of the whiskies shortly.  Till next tasting! – Chris      

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